Reply by AHuxley

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Posted on Powermatic PM1500 Worthiness?

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874 posts in 4606 days

#1 posted 10-14-2018 07:07 AM

I am, however, a fan of roller ball bearings for the guides and no, it does not cost anywhere near $100 to replace roller bearings on a PM1500. Maybe if you buy them direct from PM, but they are not rare and available at AutoZone.
I don t know that I would necessarily call re-sawing “torture” to a good size band saw like the ones you are looking at. If you have a good quality re-saw design blade and the saw is set up properly I really don t think it is any harder on a saw than other cutting jobs. Every now and then we have somebody that gets on here and talks about using a 12” Craftsman to re-saw big hickory beams….then they come back complaining. It s like the African hunters used to say…”always use enough gun”

- msinc

The problem with the “skate board bearing” guides is that they provide the poorest support of the major guide types and are horrible with green or pitchy wood because they press the pitch into the blade as opposed to scraping it off. Also if you look at what I wrote I was saying by the time you wear out a set of Laguna ceramic blocks you would have spent more than $100 in bearing setS. You should be able to replace the PM1500s 10 bearings for about $20 a set from vendors like VXB. They are certainly functional but came in vogue as an “upgrade” to standard block guides which are still in use on the best bandsaws you can buy and the best ever built. Look at the upper-level Carter guides and the guide on Tannewitz, Yates, Oliver, Northfield etc saws and you will see solid side guides and at near $40k a pop new Tannewitz G series saws aren’t using them to save money.

The other thing item that is more a hollow upsale than anything else is the tension release. A good tire won’t take a set. I have saws that have had carbide blades on them tensioned to 30K psi for years with zero issues with the tires and some of have sat for months without being used. It is convenient when you are changing a blade and replacing it with the same blade but at the level we are discussing here the tires shouldn’t be an issue.

The whole “new” line of PM saws do all have a very nice fence system. More functional out of the box than any Euro or old iron saw. Laguna adds a better fence but the SCM/MM saws have a very plain heavy iron fence that is great to build off of but unmodified is not great for hand fed resawing.

I should point out while I have used a PM1500 on two occasions I have never owned one, though I did own an 1800 for about a year when they first came out. I am also a big Powermatic fan, IMO they make the best thought out hobby level machines built in Asia. It is just in the case of the bandsaws they are actually priced over the similar sized Italian machines which have been and remain the benchmark of steel framed saws.

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